- Published on Thursday, 02 February 2012 06:17
- Category: Grand Central Stories
The Muslim Women’s Institute for Research and Development
serves over 5,000 needy New Yorkers a month – and just got a new lease on life. The organization has two locations: in Highbridge and Parkchester, Bronx, providing hunger, health and immigration services. It was in danger of closing its doors on December 31, due to lack of funding, but got a donation just in the nick of time from the Collegiate Church.
“It felt really good,” said Nurah Ama’tullah, executive director of the Institute. “It is truly like a blessing.”
Ama’tullah said the payroll was disrupted around Labor Day and the Institute’s future was in limbo until the donation came in on December 19. “It was a time of prayer and reflection as to how we would continue,” she recalled. “For someone like myself, it’s always a question as to ‘Is this what Allah wants me to do?’”
The $100,000 grant was able to pay off the $50,000 in existing debt and will be used to cover operational expenses through the end of March.
But since the middle of December, an additional $49,000 was raised from various sources, so now costs are covered through the end of May. “We are working to raise additional funds,” Ama’tullah said.
It’s also the organization’s 15th anniversary. “We are currently working on multiple campaigns to raise additional resources and to highlight and celebrate the 15 years of work the organization has done.”
Unfortunately, there is even more work to be done. Demand for services keeps increasing as the economy struggles to grow.
“There is an ongoing challenge that hunger and relief work is volunteer work,” Ama’tullah explained. “It really hurts the sector, Hunger is the highest level it has been in 50 years and this cannot be perceived as volunteer work. There has to be funding put into the sector to pay people to get food to those who are hungry.”
The surrounding Bronx community is supportive of the initiative and is extremely grateful that it will remain open – at least through the cold winter months. “In many instances, the services we provide is a lifeline for many of them,” Ama’tullah said.By Denise Romano, Aslan Media Columnist
*Photo Credit: Ed Yourdon
About the Columnist: Denise Romano
Denise is a freelance reporter extraordinaire. She is Brooklyn born and raised with a Print Journalism degree from Brooklyn College. Though not of Middle Eastern descent, she started a blog to tell the stories of Iranians and Iranian-Americans after the 2009 election fallout. Ever since, she has been dedicated to giving voice to those who are marginalized by the mainstream media. When she is not writing, Denise spends time with her husband, sings in a barbershop chorus, cooks Italian food, and watches Saturday Night Live. Because she is in tune with the beat of the Big Apple, she launched this blog to share the everyday concerns of New York's Middle Eastern diaspora communities exclusively with Aslan Media.